Goals are a very tricky issue if you haven’t understood them well enough. Perhaps the most glamorous of all the self improvement ideas; many teachers are quick to jump on the absence of one as the reason for failure. If I said that I could point to a few people who have been successful without really setting goals, you might probably shoot me. That’s just how fanatical we have all become about goals. Are goals overrated? No- just very badly understood and misapplied.
A pastor friend of mine recently told me that perhaps it is better to trust everything to God who knows all and let him decide what the goal should be. Of course he was speaking in a certain context which if you understood will have a much different meaning from what a simple statement like this can convey.
Very often goals lose their glamour when they in themselves become a liability instead of an asset. In this sense they might work against us instead of working for us. Such goals will be deficient of the ingredients that make them useful. Among these ingredients are the famous specificity, measurability, achievability, time bounded, written down and, broken into smaller goals all the way down to rewarding yourself at every milestone to keep your motivation up. There are a few other known attributes that your goals must have in order for them to be effective but those are the usual stuff you already know.
Once a goal has all the properties the experts say it should have, you end up with what is called a S.M.A.R.T goal. Very smart indeed. There is however another dimension to goals that is not known to most and hence doesn’t show up in main stream discussions. Yet this dimension can have a very profound effect on your goals as far as achievability goes. It is my intention to wake you up to this dimension which will make your goals more potent and increase their chances of manifestation.
Welcome to the intelli-gaol era. Goals can become a dead end even if they are S.M.A.R.T. The devil is in the specificity. Surprised? Don’t be. This is possible when the goal is to arrive at a profession for example. I want to be a lawyer in ten years. That is a very S.M.A.R.T. goal by all standard but also sadly a “dead end goal”. As a smart goal it could be achievable but can also be meaningless. It brings your life to an end- you become a lawyer and that’s it.
Now while it may seem shocking to some that I might attempt to combine open “endedness” with specificity, you will soon understand that when something is intelligent, it thinks and hence can do more than be simply predictable.
A lawyer is a profession and no more than that. However there are good lawyers and not so good ones. Becoming a lawyer only puts you in a vehicle with which you can go to a real destination that though might be specific is also open ended and dynamic. An intelli-goal that is dynamic adopts and thinks. In case you have missed the point, I am saying that to want to be a lawyer is a dead-end-goal. An intelli-goalis the goal that is possible to achieve using law as a vehicle. As a lawyer, one can still under perform and when one decides that they have arrived at their life’s maximum because they became lawyers, they have placed a limitation on themselves.
And so the question here must be: I want to be a lawyer- in order to do what? This is the kind of question that an intelli-goal would have answered in advance while a S.M.A.R.T goal is scratching its head looking for a way out of the box.
Dead-end-goals can do a lot of harm especially when we are arrogant enough to think the goal is S.M.A.R.T and therefore we are doing what is best. Setting intelli-goals are the cure for dead-end-goals and they allow us to escape this curse that masquerades as a blessing. Intelli-goals are also the way to extend the soon to be outdated smart goal idea into something more effective.
In order to reach the peak of our performance, it is important to relook at the goals we are aiming at and upgrade them from S.M.A.R.T to intelli-goalsso they are dynamic enough to adapt to changing conditions yet they remain specific enough to be achieveable- of course one cannot hit a target that is moving all the time. Dead-end-goals are a limitation as they do not really accomplish anything. You become a lawyer; earn a nice living as all lawyers do, have a nice and house and erm… that’s it. There are lawyers, there are very good lawyers and there are lawyers who are doing a lot to improve humanity. So you became a lawyer after seven years of learning, now what? SPiD- UP with intelli-goals.